Locate all your life insurance policies and look at who is named beneficiary. Chances are it’s your spouse or other family members, but if a beneficiary isn’t named, the proceeds will pass to your estate. There are several reasons why you might not want that to happen:
The proceeds could be subject to federal or state estate taxes;
Creditors of your estate would have access to the funds;
Probate fees could be increased;
There could be a delay in distributing the proceeds until the administration of your estate is complete.
Make sure you’ve named a beneficiary for the insurance proceeds. Keep in mind that you can name charity as a primary or contingent beneficiary in the event that a named beneficiary is no longer alive.